Little Alamance Creek Healthy Streams Cooperative


We are excited to announce the Little Alamance Creek Healthy Streams Cooperative.  AWCK has been involved throughout the entire project, though supporting The City of Graham as well as the City of Burlington.  We worked closely with North Star Marketing to develop a website that would serve as both a public education tool and a reporting tool for all of the partners involved.  Please feel free to contact us with any comments or questions.

The City of Burlington, City of Graham and North Carolina Department of Transportation have formed a partnership that is committed to restoring the health of the Little Alamance Creek Watershed.

In 2000, Little Alamance Creek was identified as impaired and included on the North Carolina 303(d) List of Impaired Waters based on a “Poor” bioclassification rating due to the results of benthic macroinvertebrate (benthos) sampling. Impairment for biological integrity is based on a narrative standard that pertains to the aquatic life use designation. NCDEQ has classified the stream as impaired since 2000 due to a “Poor” benthos rating but no specific pollutant source was identified. The existing watershed reports attributed impairment to those factors that are typical of the complex condition found in many urban watersheds, including hydro-modification, insufficient riparian buffer, streambank erosion, pollutants in stormwater runoff, and degradation of instream habitat.

Rather than accept a stormwater Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL), during the summer of 2012 representatives from the North Carolina Department of Transportation and the cities of Burlington and Graham committed to supporting a Category 4b Demonstration process in Little Alamance Creek watershed. As part of this commitment, the project partners have prepared a Category 4b Demonstration Plan describing management actions that, when implemented, will contribute to the overall goal of restoring water quality and achieving a benthic macroinvertebrate community bioclassification of “Not Impaired”, “Good-Fair”, or better.

In January 2015, the EPA Region 4 approved the Category 4b Demonstration Plan and in 2016 NCDEQ delisted Little Alamance Creek from the 303(d) list with concurrence from the EPA. The 2015 approval indicated the following:

“This demonstration summarizes the documentation supporting the 4B classification of Little Alamance Creek, located in Alamance County, North Carolina. The project partners are the City of Burlington, City of Graham and North Carolina Department of Transportation in conjunction with the North Carolina Division of Water Resources. This demonstration is consistent with EPA’s new Vision for 303(d) programs, which encourages “alternative approaches adaptively implemented to achieve water quality goals. The Cities of Burlington and Graham and NC DOT have provided a template for biologically impaired waters due to flow alterations that can guide other stakeholders in North Carolina as they address similar impairments within their jurisdictions. EPA is encouraging states and local communities to focus their pollution control efforts on protecting high quality waters and restoring priority waters. This collaborative effort by the Cities and DOT is a good example of how locals can effectively address priority waters and we support development of similar 4b demonstrations as alternatives to TMDLs in North Carolina.”

The Category 4b Demonstration Plan, written by the project partners, specified a website to be utilized not only for education and outreach but also as a reporting mechanism for regulatory compliance. The use of a website allows for more timely and frequent updates on the efforts of the project partners throughout the watershed while eliminating the need for annual reports. Therefore, we welcome you to explore to learn more about the Little Alamance Creek Healthy Streams Cooperative. The organization of the website’s content into the four dashboard groups combined with an interactive user experience will enable to be a beneficial resource for both the general public and water quality specialists. In addition to reporting on watershed activities, the dashboard will assist the project partners in communicating with and encouraging the general public to participate in opportunities that help to restore biological health in Little Alamance Creek.

It is anticipated that achieving the goal of “Not Impaired”, “Good-Fair”, or better benthos bioclassification will require significant time and effort on the part of the project partners as well as participation with other stakeholders within the watershed. Therefore, the City of Burlington, City of Graham and North Carolina Department of Transportation are committed to a long term partnership in order to collaborate in every effort of protecting and restoring the health of Little Alamance Creek.

Please feel free to contact any of the representatives listed below with questions or comments related to the Category 4b Demonstration Plan or

City of Burlington and City of Graham

Josh Johnson – Alley Williams Carmen & King – or (336) 226-5534

Phil Ross – Alley Williams Carmen & King – or (336) 226-5534

North Carolina Department of Transportation

Andy McDaniel – or (919) 707-6737